‘As to the short-winged soft-billed birds, which come trooping in such numbers in the spring, I am at a loss even what to suspect about them. I watched them narrowly this year, and saw them abound till about Michaelmas, when they appeared no longer.’ - Gilbert White (The Natural History of Selborne)
Gilbert White practiced watching narrowly throughout his life, he firmly believe that by watching and noticing the natural world’s detail, he could gain a better understanding of the natural world as a whole. Something that can be seen clearly in his work ‘The Natural History of Selborne’
When the covid-19 pandemic hit we were all forced to look at the world a little differently. With more time on our hands and only our local areas to explore, we all became a little more Gilbert White. In our daily walks, many of us noticed more of the great outdoors as the seasons changed and appreciated the importance of the natural world so much more.
In the lockdown of 2021, Gilbert White’s House & Gardens set up a seasonal photography competition where entrants could send in nature photographs which took on the theme of ‘watching narrowly’. The museum were overwhelmed by the quality of photographs received and winners were chosen by the museum’s chair of Trustees Professor Khalid Aziz, to star in a new temporary exhibition at the museum.
The exhibition will feature twelve winning images and take the viewer on a journey through the seasons, from the emergence of Spring with delicate butterflies and ducklings, through to busy bees and gulls in Summer, through to the amazing colour of autumn and the icy depths of winter. The winners come from across the country with many very local to Selborne, displaying what an amazing place we live in.
‘The exhibition really shows the diversity of nature’ says Kimberley James the museum’s collections manager ‘All the photographs are so different and so striking. Walking down the corridor is really like walking through a year of nature and seeing close-up the lives of insects, birds, mammals, flowers and forests.’
The exhibition opens on the 5th April and will run until the 12th June. The exhibition is free with the cost of entrance.